Tree Trimming 101: When to Trim vs. When to Cut

It’s that time of year again. Whether you live in an area where healthy trees lose their leaves in the fall or not, you likely have a tree somewhere on your property. And if you have fruit trees — even if it’s just a small bush — there will come a time when tree branches become an eyesore and need to be trimmed.    

However, knowing when to trim or cut is another matter entirely. Both involve tree pruning so that it doesn’t affect your home or create safety hazards, but they are two very different things.     

Knowing which is ideal for your particular situation can help save you money and reduce the risk of serious injury to yourself or someone else.   

Here’s what you need to know about tree trimming and cutting:

What Is Tree Trimming?

Trimming a tree is the process of removing tree branches or foliage growing into a path where they are not wanted or on top of power lines.

Trimming often includes shaping the tree to grow appropriately and improve tree health. People trim trees at any time of the year, but most do it in the fall before trees lose their leaves or when the tree has too many dead or broken branches.

Trimming is often done when the tree is fully grown and has undergone its first growth cycle. If a tree is newly planted and has growth issues, it may be pruned immediately after it is planted to help it establish itself more quickly.

Note that there are specific rules and regulations regarding tree trimming to make the practice as safe as possible, so you might want to hire a professional tree trimming service for the job. 

What Is Tree Cutting? 

Tree cutting is the process of pruning trees and shrubs to remove completely dead branches or diseased tree limbs. Tree cutting is typically done around the tree’s base, right around the tree trunk, and is generally done in the fall during the first two weeks of October.

There are a few reasons why this is the best time of year to prune trees.

First, the threat of disease is minimal, as the tree is winding down and preparing for winter. Second, the limbs are thick with leaves and sap, which hinders clean, safe tree removal. And third, when the cost of tree removal services is at its lowest, you won’t need to pay as much for the service.

When to Trim a Tree?

When to trim a tree will depend on the tree in question. But usually, trimming is done when the branches or foliage are growing into a path where they are not wanted or on top of power lines.

Tree trimming is most often done during the growing season. However, if a tree is suffering from a disease, insect infestation, or other health problem, it can be pruned at any time of the year.

If a tree’s branches or leaves are growing into your home, they are in the way of something, or they are creating a safety hazard, it should be pruned as soon as possible to prevent the problem from worsening.

When to Cut a Tree?

When you should cut a tree will depend on the tree and the location.

If the tree is too close to your house or a power line, you should cut it down. If the tree is diseased, it should be cut down and removed.

If the tree is growing too close to other trees, you can cut it down so that it isn’t growing over them and getting in the way of their growth.

Some signs that your tree(s) needs to be cut down include:

The tree is diseased.

The tree has been damaged in a storm and is at risk of falling on your home.

Tree roots are growing out of control and will likely damage your home or its foundation.

The tree is growing too close to your power lines.

Tips for Successful Tree Trimming and Cutting

Tree trimming and cutting is a job best left to the professionals. But if you believe the work is minor and is something you can do on your own, there are a few things you can do to ensure the project is successful.

It would be best if you started by checking the tree’s health before trimming or cutting. If it is damaged in any way, it can make the situation worse. Look for damaged or diseased branches that might make it more difficult or dangerous to prune or cut the tree.

If a few branches need pruning, ensure the cut is clean and away from the rest of the tree.

Remember to check with your utility company before you cut down any trees. Some utility lines are buried, and others are overhead. It’s important to know which type of line runs through your property before you cut down a tree that may be near it.

It would help if you also made sure there are no birds or squirrels living in the tree. If there are, you can gently use a long pole with a long sheet of paper attached to the end to coax them out of the tree.

To ensure the tree you cut down doesn’t grow back, you can cut off a small amount of the stump. Cover the stump with a thick layer of soil to help prevent it from growing again.

In Conclusion

When it comes to tree trimming and cutting, knowing when to trim or cut is key to keeping your home safe and secure and reducing the risk of fire.

Remember, trimming is done around the base of the tree and on the branches, while cutting is done at the top of the tree and on the trunk. So, if you notice a tree growing too close to your home or is damaged, you’ll want to get in touch with a professional tree care service like Cut Rite Tree Service.

Cut Rite Tree Service has over four decades of experience providing the local Fresno community with professional tree care services, whether trimming or removal.

Call us today at 559-320-7723 to speak to one of our industry specialists.


We are a locally owned company that prides ourselves in providing the best service possible for the residents of Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Folwer, Reedley and the surrounding areas.

Contact Us

1806 N Temperance
Fresno, CA 93727


Call Now Button